A wonderful discovery. The 'top' Cyrus Audio CD transport Xt model. It declares that the data retrieve takes place with an ultra-reduced reading error, and they feel it; custom mechanics and servo-control. Matching two champions, produces a top-notcher.
Please contact us to find the right digital cable for your system.
Based on improvements made to their Anniversary System CD player, the CD Xt Signature is a dedicated CD transport which produces audiophile sound quality. It is manufactured with a range of performance enhancing techniques and components, including an evolved version of their Servo Evolution technology.
The CD Xt Signature is a dedicated CD transport which produces audiophile sound quality. It is manufactured with a range of performance enhancing techniques and components, including an evolved version of our Servo Evolution technology.
Two separate power supplies provide huge reserves of power, which eliminates the need for a PSX-R₂. The sound produced by the CD Xt Signature is truly stunning, providing a room filling wide and high soundstage.
Our SE platform is specifically engineered to retrieve data from an audio CD with the fewest errors. To provide ideal data output for hi-fi, Cyrus controls the whole electromechanical servo system providing superior quality audio than previously possible with conventional drives.
By removing the onboard DAC, the CD Xt Signature works purely as a digital transport. Removing additional circuitry allows the CD Xt Signature to focus purely on data retrieval and a high performance digital output.
Optical and coaxial outputs provide connectivity to a variety of DAC’s. Our very best digital output stage has been engineered for the CD Xt Signature with signal re-clocking for extremely low jitter.
CD Xt Signature features the latest generation of our slot load CD technology. This quiet and low contact mechanism provides myriad benefits to the traditional tray method of loading a CD whilst also de-cluttering the front panel for an improved aesthetic.
The CD Xt Signature features an over-specified linear power supply which provides isolation for precision parts of the circuit ensuring the most accurate reproduction possible.
"Looking for a top class transport? The XT Signature doesn't disappoint with a sound that’s cleaner, crisper and more dynamic than anything we've recently heard at the money. Partner it with a suitable DAC and you’ll be in hi-fi heaven.”
What Hi-Fi, 23th April, 2015
Servo Evolution – the first audiophile standard CD platform. Whereas almost every other CD player uses a standard off-the-shelf disc reading platform with the focus on the DAC section, Cyrus took the unique move of creating something better: our own disc reading technology.
The benefit of the Cyrus Servo Evolution technology is the ability to pick up more data from the disc first time round rather than relying on error correction to fill in missing gaps in the data.
This supplies the DAC with up to 20% more information than the conventional design and explains the higher resolution that all Cyrus CD players are capable of producing.
All of our CD players now use our third generation servo firmware which provides audible improvements to the reading of CDs.
Benefits of Servo Evolution include:
• Pulls more data from the disc than typical disc-reading systems
• Up to 5 times fewer data errors
• Reads more data ‘right first time’ than any other CD system
• Less dependent upon error correction
• Lower noise interference
• Improved optic control accuracy
A standard CD-ROM drive is optimised for high speed data retrieval. It is not the best tool for reading a CD audio disc in high definition. Other proprietary drives are typically low cost, high volume designs with inevitable compromises in the early stages of the data retrieval process. In order to achieve the perfect sound replication that we strive for, it is simply not enough to take the data from the CD, feed it to a DAC and expect the best possible audio performance. It is commonly misunderstood that CD data retrieval is digital and therefore always perfect. The laser light reflected from the CD surface is converted into an electrical signal, which is in fact an analogue signal. The quality of this analogue signal is directly linked to the number of errors in the later digitising process. A good analogue light signal is completely dependent upon the ability of the servo systems to control the focus of the laser light spot, providing smooth tracking of the data stamped onto the disc. The Cyrus-designed system, unlike the off-the-shelf servo systems used by almost every other manufacturer, is optimised for audio data retrieval – and the proof is in the sound.
When evaluating our CD players please ensure that you use original CD’s to evaluate the performance and not copies of the originals (CD-R’s) as the burning engines in most CD burners devalue the benefits gained by our SE engineering. Not all CD burners do a good job of creating copies from the original disc and it’s a shame to compromise the fine engineering that makes our players sound so valuable, by feeding them with compromised information from the very start.
Cyrus developed the Servo Evolution hardware and firmware to attempt to resolve the problem of lost data as the disc is read. We refer to this suite of engineering as a CD ‘engine’ as it covers a collection of hardware and software engineering often rather too complex to interest a casual reader.
Hi-Fi manufacturers generally do not have the deep specialist servo firmware experience or investment budget to use anything other than off-the-shelf (OEM) CD drive ‘kits’ developed for mass production (CD loader, laser, sled mechanism and firmware to drive this set of parts). The engineering to make the mechanical parts work reliably in the intended environment is complex and sophisticated and therefore expensive to develop. Economics mean OEM kits are developed for the largest customers such as automotive markets. Because disc drives contain small, complex and mass produced parts, they require sophisticated firmware to keep the mechanical parts positioned over the data spiral on the CD. Even more problematic is that the big customers need this to happen while, for instance, a car is bumping 1.5g vertical acceleration over a pothole!
The answer is to optimise the servo code for a tough environment and buffer the output into a powerful averaging system or error corrector to provide an unbroken data stream as the car bumps along. The resulting output will play but contain a high ‘bit error rates’ that need the errors, or gaps in data, filling in with an approximation of the data/music. Clearly this is a work around solution for a harsh car environment but not ideal for the sound quality standards of a high resolution HiFi system in your living room. However commercially it does work for many mass market applications where the subtle leading edge information that would raise the hair on the back of your neck at home, is unlikely to be missed at 50 MPH with 80db ambient background noise in a car. So this is fine for mass market applications but is a severely compromised source in the mind of a Cyrus hi-fi engineer.
By comparison, hi-fi is a tiny market by volume and it is therefore not attractive for large drive manufacturers to offer a special system. Cyrus desired a disc drive that could read data ‘right first time’ without repairing gaps with approximations through error correction algorithms.
Because the needs of an in-car CD kit are very different from the needs of a domestic hi-fi, Cyrus had to decide if CD had a long enough life to make the substantial investment worthwhile. The decision was made and over 12 months three engineers worked to finish our unique SE (Servo Evolution) platform. The result was the world’s highest resolution CD engine. Our CD engine is very different from OEM kits as it runs the disc at 1x speed (not 50x for a PC drive) meaning we can optimise the controller motors to work much more accurately rather than just fast. We require accuracy rather than speed and this is where our SE system is so different to CD kits. So how good is the latest SE firmware and hardware? By comparison, Cyrus’ bit error rate delivers an output with 20% fewer errors than the next best system. In CD data terms, this is an enormous increase in resolution. Just take a moment to consider how much effort goes into gaining 5% improvement in amplifier noise or distortion. A 20% improvement in error rate means the error correction works infrequently, motors are rarely now asked to drag the laser sled back to re-read data, and focusing accuracy is maintained more of the time. The result of all this engineering is a data feed capable of greater subtlety and resolution because it gets more data from the disc ‘right first time’.
Traditionally, hi-fi designers have attempted to improve performance by focusing on post-servo options because their data quality is fixed by the needs of the mass market. Cyrus was motivated to develop SE because we believed that getting the data with greater accuracy was the correct engineering route as opposed to attempting to fix errors retrospectively. Because we have fewer errors, data is retrieved ‘right first time’, and therefore we have far less need for error correction, so the whole system is calmer with much reduced motor noise in our ground and power planes. Clearly not needing error correction nearly as often means our sound is a closer facsimile of the data on the CD because it is less ‘corrected’ and the players DAC section is not affected by power supply noise from motors in adjacent ground planes. It is also important to differentiate between those manufacturers who market a “special” buffering or correction system. These are not high resolution servo systems; they are attempts to improve on the generally available mass-produced OEM offerings made for the mass market and these kits are limited by lower resolution servo output.
During the past year, Cees Ruijtenberg, chief designer at Metrum Acoustics has developed a new DAC.
It was an unprecedented challenge, which was eventually solved by introducing an entirely new chip, completely developed by Metrum Acoustics.
With the goal of creating a very special 21st Century DAC, designer Cees Ruijtenberg has for some time, endeavoured to overcome the limitations of modern digital to analogue conversion techniques.
The luxurious front more than conceals these new chips: The parallel driven R2R ladder networks used in the eight DAC modules performs, when combined with our FPGA-driven "forward correction module, on a very high level. The 'module' splits the audio samples for each channel into new separate data streams. Each dac cluster processes a portion of the data in the area of the chip where its at its most linear.
The result is that its extremely linear right down to -140 dB (see graph above). A realistic 24 bit dynamic range is achieved. Due to the dual mono design over the entire frequency range an extremely high channel separation of 120 dB is further realized. This contributes to the flawless positioning of instruments.
In short, the Pavane is a DAC that has taken all the lessons and experiences of its forebears and further developed upon them. It is musical, honours the Non-oversampling principle.
"From the start, it proved me wrong, displaying an unexpected leap in sound and musical quality. More organic, more refinement, beautiful timing, excellent pace, dense timbre and harmonic richness, saturated tonal colours, exceptionnal dynamic expression ... It is a homerun. You can add to this impressive pedigree great but natural and palpable focus, outstanding decays and soundstage. The whole in an effortless, natural, balanced yet poised way"
- Working Principle: Non oversampling dac. Forward (FPGA) corrected, 4 Dacs pro channel in differential mode.
- Power: 45 VA via 3 separated torodial transformers.
- Mains Voltage: AC 220/230V AC 60/50Hz
- Input: 1x optical, 2x coaxial (1x BNC and 1x RCA) - AES/EBU and USB
- Outputs: 2x RCA Neutrik © cinch connectors. 2x XLR balanced output
- Output Voltages: RCA : 2 Volts RMS - XLR: 4 Volts RMS
- Frequency Response: 1Hz - 20 khz -2.5 dB. 44.1 kHz sampling 1Hz - 65 kHz - 3dB .192 and 384kHz (USB)
- Distortion: 0,008 % THD
- Noise: -145 dB t.o.v. 2 Volt RMS
- Output Impedance: RCA 100 Ohm. XLR 200 Ohm
- Sampling Rates: Optical 44 - 96 kHz sampling rate
- Coax and AES/EBU: 44 -192 kHz . USB 44 - 384kHz sampling rate
- MQA Module: optional
- Dimensions: 440 x 320 x 85 mm.
- Weight: 9000 grams
Pavane Level 1 / 2 / 3
To bring the Pavane on the same level as the Adagio , Metrum Acoustics is delivering the Pavane with the following options that allow to obtain two extra performance levels:
Level 1 Is our current Pavane , based on DAC ONE technology and using external FPGA forward correction technology.
Level 2 The Pavane will be modified based on our DAC TWO 24 bit broadcast module, having the forward correction technology available on each dac module and will have a max. sampling rate of 192kHz.
Level 3 The Pavane will be modified based on our DAC TWO 24 bit high end module, having the forward correction technology available on each dac module and will have a max. sampling rate of 384 kHz. Like the Adagio, all dacs will be matched together to get the highest possible performance.
Please read the interview to Cees Ruijtenberg below, to understand how the new DAC TWO works and what you are going to obtain with Level 2 /3.
Cees Ruijtenberg. "It's easy to see how the Adagio is part of the same family as our Pavane yet under the hood we optimized it to excel as a preamplifier. Compared to the Pavane, we made several changes to insure that performance of the volume control remained constant across its range. Since we alter the reference voltage of the converters to change volume, we needed the very best performance from them. Therefore we drive them almost to their limits for the lowest distortion and best S/N ratio. We also changed the DAC ONE module of the Pavane to the newer DAC TWO. As you'll remember, we used an FPGA to split up the 24-bit domain into two streams, each fed to a single DAC One module. Afterwards we summed these streams to get back the full analog signal with improved low-level linearity".
"I'd always wanted to get this process under the hood of just one module. In other words, take two of the DAC ONE modules plus their external FPGA, then put them in the small housing we already used. First steps were taken under a microscope and successful. We aced this during the spring of 2016 but a lot of effort then went into optimizing our test facilities. We must load each DAC with the algorithm and test it at the same time. Because we like to watch for consistent performance, production capacity was limited. For instance, we see the effect of pollution on very low levels due to solder residue. It's one more reason why one should never build ladder DACs in free air. Another disadvantage are temperature changes. Those can be avoided in our housing which keeps the temperature constant for each resistor of the ladder. Look at the above table. It shows you the accuracy needed for 24 bits of resolution which can only be achieved with laser trimming. The very best resistors today have an accuracy of ~0.01%. That means about 14 bits. What can also be seen is that due to so-called 'Johnson noise', you never exceed 24-bit accuracy in the analog domain. Johnson noise is the thermal self noise of a resistor itself. This can only be lowered by suppressing the ambient temperature. For a normal environment at 25°C (even higher inside many electronics), 32-bit resolution is commercial hooey. It's impossible. Johnson noise will dominate. Perhaps in the Arctic's sub-zero temps of -40°C, resistors will perform better but to be more precise, higher resolution is currently only possible in the digital domain. That's in fact our FPGA which runs at 400MHz using 64-bit words."
"Another advantage for our DAC Two module is that it contains paired converters. Using the same number of modules as before, we now double the effective number of ladders. The current Pavane runs four modules per side, hence four ladders. The Adagio gets eight per channel even though you only see four. This doubling has a positive effect on noise, distortion and linearity. That's why we started an update program to get the Pavane to the same performance level. The current Pavane is now marked Level 1. Two more levels can be chosen, from Level 2 [+€826 ex VAT for the 192kHz broadcast module] to Level 3 [+€1'240 ex VAT for the 384kHz high-end version]. A final advantage of the DAC TWO module is that it frees up the slot for the external FPGA on the digital input board for future options. We already sent our DAC TWO module to MQA and have been certified. We are now busy creating the MQA module as an option across our entire range from Musette to Adagio (as long as the DAC TWO module is used). Back to the Adagio. Because we use a variable reference voltage, we had to redesign the boards. Because the modules need some voltage to work, it is not possible to go to zero. A safe minimum level is -60dB—quite low already—but to achieve true zero, we added a mute function. For matching the Adagio to every kind of amplifier, there is a new switch for each channel on the back. This lowers the output by -10dB; about 700mV RMS. Last but not least, we created some 3-pin trigger connectors on the back to switch power amps on and off; and use three 30VA not 15VA power transformers.
"Sonically, the Adagio (or Pavane Level 2 or 3) goes a step further and is even more refined than what you've heard from us yet. It's also compliant now with 384kHz sample rates. Running the Adagio as a normal converter is realized by setting its volume to 12:15. This is equivalent to an upgraded Pavane run with a standard preamplifier. However, when the Adagio connects directly to a power amp, it relies on a new mind set. Now any kind of 'secret sauce' or 'signature' disappears. It certainly brings you closer to minute musical details but can also be a reason to change out cables or other types of tweaks. I don't have to tell you that the sum of all parts in the chain will have a clear effect on the final result. As to max output, setting that was a careful match between noise figures and voltage so we set it at just above 4/2Vrms for XLR/RCA. You probably have to increase the encoder's setting a bit more for very low-level recordings but in all cases we tried, including your Pass amps, adjustments were very convenient. With a 2Vrms output, the noise floor in amp-direct mode is now -155dB! That's because our converters run on twice the voltage and thrice the reference voltage as before. This boosted the Pavane's already very good noise figures by another 10dB. Finally, when connecting the Adagio to the mains for the very first time, use the remote to release the mute function. Only when the Adagio disconnects from the mains and then reconnects must this be done again. It takes about three weeks of use before the sound fully matures so leave it on for the duration."
*** Note for all previous Pavane (Level 1) Owners: the Pavane update program has started, to bring the Pavane to Level 2 or Level 3. Ex VAT prices are eur 826 for Level 2 and eur 1240 for Level 3 upgrades. Please contact us for further information.
Background information on non-oversampling conversion
- Non-oversampling Digital filter-less DAC Concept by Ryohei Kusunoki
- Manifacturing and testing the mini dac